tv CNN Presents CNN July 31, 2010 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
wearing a dress didn't stop her from going into action. police strongly discourage the public from intervening in these types of situations. thanks for joining us. i will see you back here at 6, 7, and 10 p.m. eastern. good night. today could be one of the most important days of her life. dorothy fields -- her mission, simple. to save herself but also to save her hometown mossville, louisiana. as i learned after a year long investigation to possibly save all of us. >> these plans are killing us. >> you see, dorothy is on a crusade with this one, wilma subra, a chemist, with stacks of
evidence almost everyone denies. they are toxic avengers, the two of them together. before this journey ends, they will have washington's attention. i promise you, they will have yours as well. >> have those issues been addressed? this is mossville, louisiana. for decades, residents in this community have been trying to sound the alarm for what they say is a toxic crime happening in the ground, water, air, making people sick and killing them one by one. they say those complaints have been falling on deaf ears. what happened to the people here could happen to any of us. >> hello, nice to see you. how long has this home been in your family? >> this home has been in our
family since i was a little girl. we felt free here. we felt safe. we had love and community activities that brought the families together. families did their own gardening, farming, cattle raising, all the things that we needed, we had that here. it was just a beautiful place to live. >> that was then. mossville is now surrounded by chemical plants. >> it's sort of jarring to like all of a sudden be walking through this area with all these trees and look over and see this plant with the smoke billowing out. when you see something like that, what do you think? >> you say, i don't know if it's a good smoke or bad smoke. >> good smoke or bad smoke, i asked myself the same question when i see a smokestack. is that just steam or something worse? we wanted to hear directly from the companies in mossville and contacted the managers of all
the chemical plants nearby. none would appear on camera. several said let this man, larry deroussel, speak for them. >> they have no ill effects on the local community. there's no connection between those health issues and the plants. and the plants have been there for many, many years. >> that's what deroussel says. i can tell you it's a bitter pill for the people of mossville to swallow. i was curious what the people of mossville were experiencing on a day-to-day basis. we put signs around town asking them if they wanted to talk about it and they did.
take a look. hello, everybody. thanks for coming. i appreciate it. by a show of hands, how many of you live within a mile of some sort of chemical plant? just about all of you. how many people here have had themselves or family members affected in some way through illness or something else because of what they believed to be chemical plants? >> i had one kidney removed. >> i had to be given steroids because i had bad asthma. >> all these health problems. >> i have a white blood count dropping, every two years, it's going down. >> my two kidneys is gone. >> as a doctor, i couldn't believe what i was hearing. >> go to dialysis, three days a week. >> my daughter suffered with endometriosis and had to have a hysterectomy done and had it done like most do in this area and don't like to discuss it. >> most women have hysterectomies? >> you did? you did, too? you believe it's because again of this pollution? chemical detective wilma subra has been studying mossville for years and lives down the road in new iberia.
>> all of those people are being heavily exposed to a large quantity of very toxic chemicals. >> how long have you been involved with the people of mossville? >> since the very early '70s, when i helped them understand what the issues were, what the chemicals were being released, what form they were taking as they were being released. and looking at their health impacts. >> you're sort of like an erin brockovich. like a modern day erin brockovich. >> i was doing this way before erin was doing it. >> we have been screaming and yelling and fighting for years about our human rights are being violated. >> dorothy felix and wilma subra. passion and reason. trying to put an end to what they see as a terrifying tale in mossville. take look at these snapshots, friends and neighbors dying young. too young. many from cancer.
down the road, on a nearby bayou, harold dewima remembers what it used to be like. >> you could live off the land. there was plenty out there. >> his father rented boats to fish in the bayou and there was a problem, the fish started dying and something harold could not have predicted. his own family started getting sick. >> i had cancer and then my brother-in-law and my sister had cancer. my other brother-in-law and sister had cancer and my mother had cancer. before the industry came here, nobody in the family that we knew ever had cancer. >> you have eight people out of ten had cancer? >> right here on 40 acres. >> bone cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer. i can tell you as a doctor, the chances of that happening are
incredibly rare. >> i am very angry. i am very angry that these plants will have taken -- have taken -- have taken a lot of energy, my life, future life away from me. once you have cancer, you have to understand this, once you have cancer. i'm in remission now. once you have cancer, you live with the fear because this cancer can come back at any time. most of the time, when it comes back a second time, it's worse. >> diane prince was diagnosed with ovarian cancer six years after she and her husband, david, moved the family across the street from a vinyl plant in mossville. she wasn't the only family
member who got sick after moving there. >> my daughter about 14, 15 years old, was diagnosed with endometriosis. my younger son experienced extreme headaches and my younger daughter had extreme sinus problems. >> on top of the health problems, there were daily aggravation. >> trains passing every hour. blowing of horns. noise from the plant. drove you crazy. >> then there were smells. >> they would say, yes, we had a small release, but it didn't cross the fence line. what kind of barrier is that? in the ionsphere. >> didn't cross the fence line? how do they measure it? >> when an incident occurs, the plant has personnel they send 0 out with monitors at different
places within the plant and within the community and some on the fence line to make a determination as to just how far the effect, if any, has gone. there are minor incidents where it doesn't reach the fence line. >> they came over the plant, they came over with their little monitoring equipment to our home. they say, nothing is wrong, we don't smell anything. that was not true. that wasn't true at all. the whole family could smell it, community, my neighbors could smell it but they couldn't smell it. >> the princes and their neighbors would learn about a secret, something happening right under their feet. but, first, i wanted to know more. there's only so much you can see from the ground. take a look down here.
what you're looking at used to be a rural community. there are now 14 chemical plants there because of no taxes promised by the state. coal fired plants, petrochemical plants, many taking raw materials from plastics. in order to understand mossville, you have to understand plastic. the first plastics plant was after world war ii. part of a nationwide boom. the future was plastic. "the graduate" in 1968 captured the mood. >> want to say one word to you, just one word. >> yes, sir. >> are you listening? >> yes, i am. >> plastics. >> plastic is anything we ask it to be. >> plastic has changed our lives. the most common, polyvinyl chloride, pvc. it's everywhere, in pipes, vinyl siding, windows, and other building materials. it's in cars, shower curtains,
phones, flooring, storage containers, lunchboxes, in toy, hospitals, iv bags, in tubing. most importantly, perhaps, they're also in our homes, just about everywhere you look, laptop computer has pvc in it. even a simple bucket like this, flip it over. see the number 3, that means pvc. children's toys, one clue, if they're softer and more malleable, that's a clue pvc is in it. what about school supplies, pencils and pens, they often have pvc, even a simple binder like this also has it. these hard to open clam shell boxes, parts of the reason they're hard to open is because they have pvc. in order to have all these supplies we become so dependent on, we need to make a lot of pvc, more than 12 billion pounds
a year. that, many environmentalists say, is a problem. >> next, an alarming leak, toilets full of poison. the campaign to keep it secret. and a delicious honey almond crunch. new total plus omega-3. and if you think all batteries are the same... consider this: at iowa lakes community college, the students learn to keep america's wind turbines going and to keep them safe, the only battery they trust in their high voltage meters are duracell rechargeables. so whether you're responsible for tomorrow... or enjoying today... it just has to work. duracell smart power. duracell trusted everywhere with their autobahn for all event. it ends soon. they got great prices. cars built for the autobahn. people are gonna be driving crazy in the jetta... ...the routan, and the cc. that cc is gorgeous. that jetta is awesome. my wife loves her new routan. and they all come with that carefree maintenance. scheduled maintenance included.
felix an wilma subra are on a crusade, you need to know what happened to the prince family and their neighborhood in mossville, louisiana. >> let me get out of the picture. she's the cook, not me. >> david and diane prince suspected chemicals blowing over from the neighboring vinyl chloride plant were making them sick. here's what they didn't know. there was also pollution underground. thousands of gallons of a highly toxic chemical called edc, ethylene dioxin chloride seeping beneath their neighborhood. we wanted to find someone who worked at the plant and was willing to talk. we tracked down ray reynolds in mayhill, new mexico. >> i worked at condea vista and i was chairman of the union. >> the 52-year-old reynolds suffers from a rare blood
disorder, a condition he blames on chemical exposure. nowadays, he says the mountain air is good for his health. >> i have complete kidney failure, which means without this machine, i would have maybe two to three weeks to live. the body -- i would die. >> reynolds travels for dialysis twice a week. when he worked at condea vista, reynolds says the plant water was contaminated with edc, ethylen dioxin chloride, and was heated to almost 1,000 degrees, a process called cracking to produce the vinyl chloride. edc is a suspected carcinogen that can damage the liver, kidneys and nervous system. we decided to investigate and got a hold of this internal document. take a look at this. the edc problem at the plant was so bad, this internal memo shows, the chemical dripped from the ceiling and even backed up in the toilets. because of the contamination,
workers wanted managers to warn visitors to not even wash their hands in the water. >> we threatened to go to court and bring in our own union testers to test it. they wouldn't test the water, you see. as a compromise to us, over every place that there was a water outlet, they would put, do not drink. >> here's the thing. that contamination wasn't just inside the plant. as these documents filed at the state of louisiana show, plant managers knew, as far back as the early '80s, there was an underground leak of edc. management knew the underground plume of edc was spreading into mossville. >> common sense and gravity would tell you they're getting edc out of their wells.
of course, they had the right to know and they should have known. >> but the company never told nearby residents, like david and diane prince, they might be in harm's way. in this 1991 meeting agenda, there's even a handwritten note, vista feels a public hearing is unnecessary. >> if i have edc under my property, i need to know about it. if it could possibly affect my health, i need to know about it. >> it wasn't until december 1995, more than a decade after the company began trying to contain the contamination, condea vista notified mossville residents. >> i considered this a vicious, very vicious act, a criminal act, where this chemical escaped and it was not reported to the public. it was just left there. >> sasol, which bought condea vista in 2001, had no comments on what happened, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on events that happened
prior to our becoming owners of the company. larry deroussel, of the lake industry alliance, said he couldn't talk about the chemical leak either. >> that is an incident that relates to a specific company and i can't -- i'm not in a position to be able to discuss issues related to specific companies. >> this is vinyl pvc pipe. >> allen blakey, a spokesman for the vinyl industry, says what happened was the exception, not the rule. >> in most instances, the communities are doing very well, living right next door to the plants and the relationships are generally good. >> authorities never accused condea vista of doing anything illegal but the underground contamination did not go over well in mossville. residents of this mossville neighborhood were upset. over 1,000 banded together to
file a groundwater contamination class action lawsuit. they won that lawsuit but something else happened here as well. residents over here, these close-knit neighbors all started to scatter, flood the pollution, leaving this neighborhood nearly abandoned, and part of mossville's history was lost for good. >> i can't bring my children back here and say, this is where momma grew up at, this where is you were born, a house i brought you in, i can't do that anymore because it just doesn't exist anymore. i think it's unfair for them to just rob you, like raping you of your history. >> this is a street homes were back there. it's just -- for me, it is just sad to know this is barricaded like this, because i saw when this was developed to a very good area. >> is this place a toxic place forever or is it fixable? >> well, as you see, it's empty lots. so the industry owns these lots and obviously have made the
decision it's not fixable or they'll expand onto this land. it will never be residential again. >> david and diane prince were among the people driven from the land they loved. >> a sight to behold to see them lift the whole house and carry it on its way. >> his wife, diane, she loved that house. >> she wanted to live in here, in this house. i think she enjoyed the high ceilings here. she just liked to sit on the porch. >> meanwhile, diane's cancer had returned. and it was worse than before. she died on october 6th, 2005. diane prince was 59 years old. >> it would seem, anyway, they're more protective of the almighty dollar than human health. the community in mossville seems like it had lost their god given right to human health. i mean, nobody cares. nobody cares, as long as they are not seemingly directly affected by what they do. they don't worry about it. they're not concerned about it. it's not us. it is those poor people in
mossville. that's the attitude. that's the attitude you get. >> i can only go back to what i know, and what i know is how the plants are operated. what i know is the results of the various studies that have been provided, that have indicated there's no connection between those health issues and the plants. next, the people of this toxic town fight back. and wilma subra finds what looks like the smoking gun. dorothy felix knew her community was suffering. in fact, not long after an underground chemical spill turned this neighborhood into a ghost town, a university of texas researcher did a health survey in mossville and concluded the community was very sick. what i know is the results of the various studies that have been provided, that have indicated there's no connection between those health issues and the plants. next, the people of this toxic town fight back. and wilma subra finds what looks like the smoking gun. you exerci, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine
used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine may help reduce after meal blood sugar spikes and may help reduce high morning blood sugar. [ male announcer ] onglyza should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. tell your doctor if you have a history or risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. onglyza has not been studied with insulin. using onglyza with medicines such as sulfonylureas may cause low blood sugar. some symptoms of low blood sugar are shaking, sweating and rapid heartbeat. call your doctor if you have an allergic reaction like rash, hives or swelling of the face, mouth or throat. ask your doctor if you also take a tzd as swelling in the hands, feet or ankles may worsen. blood tests will check for kidney problems. you may need a lower dose of onglyza if your kidneys are not working well or if you take certain medicines. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor about adding onglyza. extra help. extra control. you may be eligible to pay $10 a month with the onglyza value card program.
20 minutes later, she'll bring one into the world in seattle. later today, she'll help an accident victim in kansas. how can one nurse be in all these places? through the nurses she taught in this place. johnson & johnson knows, behind every nurse who touches a life... there's a nurse educator... who first touched them. ♪ you're a nurse ♪ you make a difference
dorothy felix knew her community was suffering. in fact, not long after an underground chemical spill turned this neighborhood into a ghost town, a university of texas researcher did a health survey in mossville and concluded the community was very sick. residents were worrying about dioxin, often called the most toxic chemical known. and they convinced the federal agency for toxic substances and disease registry, atsdr, to perform blood tests. >> they found that the dioxin in the blood level of the residents tested had three times the elevation of people in this country. so the levels are extremely high. >> where were these dangerous chemicals coming from? the federal agency concluded the source, quote, was not known. >> we're surrounded by 14
chemical plants in this area, 14! >> in spite of those high blood dioxin levels, the department of health and hospitals concluded no further investigation is needed. >> put it down just a little bit on your side. >> dorothy felix and her friends in the local environmental group mossville environmental action now were outraged, and they decided to launch their own investigation. their lead detective, wilma subra. subra is a chemist who has made it her life's mission to help places like mossville. >> other than sulfur smell, what kind of smell do you have in your water? >> communities across the united
states and the world now ask her for help. subra used to work for government agencies and companies testing for toxic chemicals but they didn't let her tell the local people what she found and subra didn't like that. >> in 1981, i said, okay, it's time for me to do this on behalf of the communities. >> she received the macarthur genius grant for her work in 1999 and gotten her share of threats. >> i get harassed all the time. >> what happens? >> my office got broken into a large number of times. i had a drive-by shooting when i was in the office. >> they wanted you dead? >> well, they hit it by the door and i was sitting in front of the window right next to the door. i think they were more trying to scare me and get me to back off. this is where the bullet hit the brick. >> subra simply moved her desk away from the window and got back to work. >> right now, i'm probably working on somewhere around 30 active issues. >> in mossville, her focus is dioxin. how bad is it? >> it's one of the most toxic substances known to man.
>> one of the most toxic substances known to man. what does that really mean? first, dioxins are toxic in parts per trillion. let me give you a little bit more context. this is one drop of food coloring, this is one swimming pool. look what happens. here's the thing. if that were dioxin, it would still be toxic, even if this were 130,000 swimming pools. >> when the dioxin is being released on an ongoing basis, you keep bioaccumulating that in your body. >> you will hear a lot more about subra's detective work in mossville. first, dioxin, you may know more about them than you think. agent orange contained dioxins. it is an herbicide that got its name because of the orange stripes on the storage barrels, dioxin was an unwanted impurity in the production process. the u.s. military used the defoliant to clear away thick jungle and the vietcong forces.
agent orange had another effect. in the decade that followed, soldiers exposed to agent orange were more likely to develop a range of cancers and possibly parkinson's disease, hypertension and heart disease. that brings us back to mossville. toxicologist richard lipsey said the levels found in mossville residents are dangerously high. if you're wondering, lipsey has no connection to anyone in mossville, residents or companies. >> in mossville, it's three times too high, which means it's being stored not only in their fat but it's being in their pancreas, you will see a lot of diabetes. it's being stored in their liver, you will see liver cancer, being stored in their
kidneys and in their brains. are there going to be adverse health effects? yes. >> but where was the dioxin coming from? to answer that question, wilma subra came up with a plan right out of a detective's handbook. look for fingerprints. you see, dioxin is not a single chemical but a family of chemicals, and each has its own chemical fingerprint. >> it clearly makes a different fingerprint from the sources, the vinyl manufacturing facilities have high concentrations of specific ones. you can clearly see where it's coming from.
>> in other words, she could see if the dioxins coming from the chemical plants were the same ones ending up in the people of mossville, like david and diane prince. she said the dioxins in the blood matched those from five nearby chemical plants and local power plant. >> the highest map was georgia gulf. >> the five most common dioxins in mossville residents matched the common dioxins from the georgia gulf plant. >> to me, that's a smoking gun. >> we asked georgia gulf about that, but they wouldn't talk to us. instead, they left it to allen blakely at the vinyl institute. >> i don't really know wilma subra's study, but i don't think she's a medical doctor and don't think she did a medical
jan brewer fought back right away but lost her bid to get a speedy appeal hearing. that's not going happen until november. and the gulf of mexico work to seal bp's crippled well has been delayed. the static kill now wont begin until monday or tuesday. the delay is necessary to clear out sediment from tropical storm bonn bonnie. cement pumped in is expected to begin by the end of august. on saturday, hundreds of people and hordes of media descended on a tiny new york town for the wedding of chelsea clinton and now we can unveil for you the first time the pictures what everyone wants to see. chelsea's wedding dress designed by vera wang. the couple tied the knot in an
we are extremely thrilled about being able to host such a wonderful event. >> it was at a mossville health fair last summer, when finally a decade of frustration boiled over for dorothy felix. it happened during a presentation by the epa. >> the people of mossville has turned to you because you are supposed to protect the people -- the human beings of this environment. you have not. your agencies have not done one thing. these plants are killing us and you have turned a deaf eye, that you don't know what's going on. >> epa regional director, samuel coleman, promised the agency would investigate health hazards, to a point. >> what we will not do is come in and say your health is directly injured because of x. that's not what we do. we're not going to say your health is impacted. >> even more alarming to felix and others in mossville, the epa
concluded subra was wrong when she said the dioxins could be traced to georgia gulf. the report said these same types of dioxins are typically found in people living throughout the united states. >> we could not agree with the findings she presented. >> federal agencies are very slow to say, folks in mossville, you got a problem, because if they do, they've got to do something about that problem. >> so who is supposed to do something about all this? what about the agency for toxic substances and disease registry? remember, atsdr? they did the blood tests that found the high dioxin levels. in 1988, they hired chicago expert, peter orris to advise them on mossville.
his advice, polluters should help pay for health care. >> i thought the local industry, since they knew they were putting these chemicals into the environment, should extend the health insurance they had for their workers to the local community. >> atsdr ignored the advice. the head of the louisiana department of health and hospitals called orris, quote, an outsider with, quote, unscientific opinions. >> i was surprised by his response, i must say. >> it's really tough to have to go back to mossville over and over again, to meet with the agencies over and over again. and see no progress. >> we expected atsdr, when they started with us, to come out and work with us. no, atsdr has dropped the ball on us and done nothing. he needs to come back to mossville and finish his job. >> part of the problem is setting lines in the sand and a clear distinction between safe
and unsafe. is dr. howard frumkin, head of atsdr when i met up with him. >> they should be able to eat clean water and food. >> based on that, did this agency or any other agency fail the people in mossville? >> i think as an overall system, with all the agencies, all of the companies, stakeholders involved, we probably haven't done as much as we could. >> they say the agency has to finish the job. >> this is a question about the tools and toolbox. what our agency can do and has done and we're continuing now is scientifically characterize the exposures, take a look at the health impacts. our toolbox doesn't include solutions like relocation. >> epa says it doesn't deal with individuals who might be sickened by pollution. atsdr says even if it finds people sickened by industry, they can't do much either.
dorothy felix isn't giving up. >> i will stay with this fight so my granddaughter, if she chooses to live in this community, will have a safe place to live, safe environment. >> here's what felix and others specifically want. that residents who want to leave should be relocated, and those who do stay, should get free health care from the government or industry. >> it may be going forward, we may need to be thinking about locations of industrial facilities and locations where people live and keeping a healthy distance between them. >> are we going to find out 40, 50 years from now some things we thought were safe are in fact more dangerous than we thought? >> we may well. >> that's scary. you hear so much dogma coming from folks from the environmental protection agency,
this is fine, don't worry about it. it's safe. as science changes, it may not be, as with lead. >> as time goes on, we get better and better at appreciating the effects of chemical exposure and led us to lower acceptable levels of many chemicals including lead. >> you can't prove the cause and effect relationship here. as hard as you may try, that's the problem, y you can't prove e effect. >> you can trace the chemical as it comes across into the community, you can detect it in the community where the people live and correlates to the health index. >> next, the investigation heats up and dr. gupta takes his questions straight to the top, to the head of the environmental protection agency. [ male announcer ] if you have type 2 diabetes,
you struggle to control your blood sugar. you exercise and eat right, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine may help reduce after meal blood sugar spikes and may help reduce high morning blood sugar. [ male announcer ] onglyza should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. tell your doctor if you have a history or risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. onglyza has not been studied with insulin. using onglyza with medicines such as sulfonylureas may cause low blood sugar. some symptoms of low blood sugar are shaking, sweating and rapid heartbeat. call your doctor if you have an allergic reaction like rash,
hives or swelling of the face, mouth or throat. ask your doctor if you also take a tzd as swelling in the hands, feet or ankles may worsen. blood tests will check for kidney problems. you may need a lower dose of onglyza if your kidneys are not working well or if you take certain medicines. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor about adding onglyza. extra help. extra control. you may be eligible to pay $10 a month with the onglyza value card program. or 100 calories? with yoplait delights, now you can finally have both. two indulgently rich layers of chocolate and raspberry yogurt... and only 100 calories. with their autobahn for all event. it ends soon. they got great prices. cars built for the autobahn. people are gonna be driving crazy in the jetta... ...the routan, and the cc. that cc is gorgeous. that jetta is awesome. my wife loves her new routan. and they all come with that carefree maintenance.
scheduled maintenance included. we're not shopping for cars here, people. c'mon! well, i am now. that's kind of exciting. [ male announcer ] right now, get 0% apr on 2010 models, excluding tdi. or get a great price on a certified pre-owned volkswagen. every time they had a release, oh, it didn't cross the fence line. they had some magical vacuum, i guess. >> in mossville, dorothy felix and diane prince try to rally support. >> this is a group of institutional investors who used their role as shareholders to encourage corporations to change behaviors that are unjust, that
cause trouble for folks, that create public health concerns. and mossville is a center of the universe around some of the issues of corporate irresponsibility. >> that's what i heard as well, at a meeting with people who call this place home. >> they're not going build in a rich neighborhood because a rich neighborhood will get them out before they even get started. if you just look around, most of the minority communities is where they build these plants, and they don't care. life is nothing to them. it's all about that dollar. >> the plants are very responsive to the community. they are environmentally responsible, very conscientious about being a good neighbor. >> spokesman larry derouselle and louisiana state officials say industry is not making the people in mossville sick. the center sent us this stack of reports, including one from the state, that says cancer rate in the parish is no different from louisiana as a whole. we also got a federal report saying the dioxin levels are
similar to a nearby parish. >> in each one of their reports, says that, you know, there are no health related issues related to the industry in this area and emissions that are reported. >> subra said the studies don't mean much because they look at the whole county and don't focus just on mossville. part of the problem is this, after two decades of research, the epa has not set an official limit for airborne dioxins from mossville or anywhere else. not long after she took office, i met up with epa administrator, lisa jackson. there's been 18 years of studies on dioxin. does it cause cancer? >> epa needs to speak to that, right? you don't want me to do it because i'm not an md like you. i'm an engineer by training. what we owe the american people is a final risk assessment for dioxin.
>> since then, the epa did announce standards for dioxin in the soil. still nothing for airborne dioxin. the agency now promises a draft assessment by the end of 2010. some companies aren't waiting. computer giant hewlett-packard, kaiser, permanente, office depot, office max, nike, ford, all of them using less polyvinyl chloride. that's right. no pvc is the new ipad, in the long term, less pvc waste to burn. all in all, it could mean less dioxin in the environment. back in mossville, plants are still making millions of pounds of vinyl chloride every year. wilma subra says chemical industry lobbyists in louisiana have talked state lawmakers out of passing any dioxin standards. i mean, how can this happen? >> because their permit levels
don't set a dioxin limit. >> that sounds like someone is not doing their job. you're convinced it's so toxic, i heard that. what am i missing here? why hasn't some of this been done? we're talking about human health here. >> if we go to the state legislature and try to get adoption of dioxin standards, the industry will be there day in and day out, making sure we do not succeed. but don't think she's giving up. next, a showdown in the state capital. ter looks clean, doesn't mean it is clean. but with one sheet of new bounty, you'll have confidence in your clean. in this lab test, just one sheet of new bounty leaves this surface three times cleaner than the bargain brand. want confidence that your surfaces can get really clean? even with just one sheet. bring it. super durable. super absorbent. super clean.
>> i asked willma subra and dor think felix try to get this fixed once and for all. i asked wilma subra and dorothy felix to meet me in baton rouge, the state capital. >> it has not been done. >> as i look for answers on what the state was doing to protect the people of mossville. how receptive, wilma, have people been to your concerns? >> at the capital, the legislators, the senators and representatives absolutely no concern, they don't want to hear it. >> they won't even listen to you? >> they won't even listen to me. they know i'm going to ask them to introduce legislation that would reduce concentrations of dioxin being released into the air and the water. >> we went to see the governor, i tried calling several times, he was always too busy to talk. we're trying to see if we can get on governor jindal's schedule. i thought i'd try to catch him here at his office. well, this has been all about trying to find answers, trying to get to the bottom of some of
these issues. we've made repeated attempts to try to get in touch with the governor of louisiana, to talk about these issues, and we've been repeatedly turned down. we made an appointment here at the department of health and hospitals. we flew to baton rouge and at the last moment they literal ly cancelled on us. the department of environmental quality, another roadblock. what we've heard so far they're not going to let you guys into the meeting. does that surprise you? >> yes, today, that surprises me. 20 years ago, no. but today yes. i mean, what are they fearful of? >> we just keep coming back. >> this is not the last time we will be here. we'll be coming back again. so they may as well get ready for and accept us now. >> all we want to do is let them know that mossville is still
suffering. there are people there still dying. >> let's give them a call and see if i can't help get you into the meeting. i'm literally calling into that building now. i was just calling you on the phone. >> good, good. >> we were excited to come meet with you. >> and we're glad you did. >> and we're hoping to bring wilma and dorothy in as well. >> we can't do that. if we open it up to others who are interested, it will have to be opened up to industry folks as well. and they would probably want to have their lawyers represented as well. and we haven't set that up, and we have our scientists who want to provide you information in an interview type atmosphere. >> what if they just listen? what if they don't say anything? >> it wouldn't be appropriate. >> we have come from mossville to here to sit in a room and you won't allow that? >> we really try to be as open and fair and honest as any state agency can be. if you don't feel you're getting the proper treatment, i'm sorry. it's going to be -- you know, where now you don't want to interview us on the topic, then that's going to be the case. >> we definitely want to talk. i think this is all about trying to get as many answers as possible. >> i agree. >> answers, like whether
mossville's high blood dioxin levels were making people sick. >> these blood levels would not result in any clinical health effects. >> when they say around mossville 10,000 pounds of vinyl chloride, 112,000 pounds of benzene, edc, 29,000 pounds a year, should people be worried about that sort of thing? >> what we've seen, concentrations in air, soil, and drinking water are well, well below levels of concern. >> try telling that to dorothy felix and wilma subra. they're plenty concerned. the state government may have tuned them out, but they now have the federal government's ear. this winter, after cnn began reporting on mossville, the environmental protection agency said for the first time it would test to see if mossville qualifies as a super fund site. as one of america's most toxic towns.
that could be money for cleanup, and maybe relocation. testing began in april. >> this is a very important day. it's a day that should have come a long time ago. we have travelled a long journey. and i feel like victory is close. ♪ >> not all of mossville's crusaders have lived to see these victories. i will never know for sure whether living in mossville made david prince sick. during the filming of this documentary, he died after a fire in his home. would i live in mossville? personally, if i had a choice? no. you wouldn't either. you're going to want to live in a safe environment, free of elevated levels of any human carcinogen. >> i would not be concerned
living in a plant community because i know a lot about the regulations and the industry's commitment to compliance to these regulations. i would feel safe and protected living there. >> if i got a fair price to get out, i would leave. >> how are we doing today? >> we're doing pretty good. >> when i think about it and think how hard my grandparents worked for this piece of property and how they prayed for it and hoped for it and cried for it, and labored for it, it would be sad to just say, i'm gone. if i decided to leave, everyone in my family would have to agree to it. i would leave no one. because we were here together, and we leave together if we have to. >> in real life, there are few perfect endings, few cut and dried conclusions. one thing i've learned during this year-long investigation, to some extent we all